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Microsoft cuts off Security Essentials downloads

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Redmond has cut off access to its Microsoft Security Essentials beta, less than a day after offering the free security app to John Q. Public on a first-come, first-served basis.

"Thank you for your interest in joining the Microsoft Security Essentials Beta," reads a post to the MSE website. "We are not accepting additional participants at this time. Please check back at later a date [sic] for possible additional availability."

Developed under the codename "Morro," Microsoft Security Essentials is the successor to Redmond's discontinued OneCare service, but it's more limited. The free service provides protection against computer viruses, spyware, and rootkits, while omitting OneCore's backup and firewall tools.

The beta was offered up to 75,000 folks running XP, Vista, or Windows 7 machines. The Security Essentials site offered downloads to the US, Brazil, and Israel. In UK, downloads were available to others through Microsoft Connect.

A final version of the product is expected in September. In early tests, the service has received a thumbs up from independent testing lab AV-test.org. ®

Update: Story has been updated to clarify where beta downloads were available.

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